Cannondale's Synapse is its endurance bike, with a high front-end and built in comfort features. We've tested the lower spec of two 105-equipped versions.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 9

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105

Weight:
Weight:

Pros:

  • Quality frame
  • Excellent comfort features
  • Innovative design
  • Upright ride position

Cons:

  • Heavy wheelset
  • Indifferent Tektro brakes

Product:

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,499.99

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The Cannondale Synapse endurance bike was completely redesigned a couple of years ago, increasing its comfort features and endurance focus. We’ve tested the entry level 105 bike from the 2015 range, although it’s worth noting that the spec has been upgraded for 2016.

Frame

Stays include flattened zones which flex to absorb road imperfections

Stays include flattened zones which flex to absorb road imperfections

Cannondale has built a myriad of comfort features into the Synapse. From the slender forks and long, tapered headset, to the vertically flattened chainstays and bowed seatstays, this is a frame built for a comfortable riding position and to dampen road imperfections.

>>> The best bits of the Cannondale 2016 range

The downtube and bottom bracket are overbuilt for power transfer, with Cannondale introducing a new BB30A standard to increase the bottom bracket shell width. The seat tube is pared away at the rear wheel and has a unique split design at its base to ensure rigidity without excess material and the frame takes an extra-slim 25.4mm alloy seatpost which also aids vibration damping.


Watch: Shimano 105 groupset review


Specification

Radical split seat tube design shaves weight while maintaining lateral stiffness

Radical split seat tube design shaves weight while maintaining lateral stiffness

The Cannondale comes with 105 shifters and front and rear mechs, whilst the chainset is an FSA Gossamer for compatibility with the BB30A bottom bracket shell. The 50/34 compact chainset and 11-32 cassette give the spread of ratios to tackle pretty much anything. Brakes are from Tektro, whilst the wheels are budget Shimano RS10s shod with Schwalbe Lugano 25mm tyres. All other components are Cannondale own brand, including the compact bars, alloy seatpost and well-padded saddle.

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Ride

Cannondale own brand saddle sits on an extra-narrow seatpost

Cannondale own brand saddle sits on an extra-narrow seatpost

My initial ride on this bike was on roads which were almost all recently regravelled, which immediately brought its road smoothing character to the fore – it’s like riding a cross tyre at 40psi but without the rolling resistance. The Cannondale is astonishingly compliant on such a dodgy surface and felt planted even through loose gravel.

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An eight hour ride showed just how comfortable the bike is, with none of the jolted around feel which I would normally expect to come home with, while the long headtube promotes a more upright position and less strain on the shoulders. Fast descents are handled with aplomb due to the frame’s stability, although the supplied brake blocks lack bite on the stock Shimano wheels.

Value

Neat internal cable routing throughout

Neat internal cable routing throughout and a concealed seat post clamp

Even at the bottom of Cannondale’s Synapse Carbon range, the fantastic frame makes this a great deal. The 105 groupset is par for this pricepoint and provides smooth, positive shifting. Although Cannondale components dominates, this is all robust, quality stuff and the Cannondale saddle is well padded and comfortable. Only the heavy, budget wheels and underpowered brakes slightly let the side down.

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Note

The Synapse Carbon 105 6 has been upgraded in the 2016 range. The current Synapse Carbon 105 still has 105 components, but now uses 105 brakes too. It also has a Cannondale Si chainset rather than FSA and comes with Mavic Aksium wheels. The price increases to £1599.99

Verdict

A quality endurance ride with great comfort, but a bit let down by brakes and wheels

Details

Frame:Synapse, Ballistec Carbon, Di2 Ready, Save Plus, BB30a
Fork:Synapse Save Plus, Ballistec Carbon tapered
Groupset:Shimano 105, FSA Gossamer chainset, Tektro R741 brakes
Gear ratios:11-32 cassette, 50/34 chainset
Wheels:Shimano RS10
Tyres:Schwalbe Lugano 25mm
Bar:Cannondale C4 alloy
Stem:Cannondale C4 alloy
Seatpost:Cannondale C3 alloy, 25.4mm
Saddle:Cannondale Stage Ergo
Size range:48 – 61cm
Size tested:54cm
Weight:8.97kg
Distributor:www.cannondale.com
  • Grayham

    What on earth is going on under the stem in the first photo? Looks like about 50mm of spacers!

  • Andrew Bairsto

    A bit of a confused report re 2015 and 2016 spec and FSA ,Shimano, Mavic, Tektro .If you are going to test a bike test one that is new as opposed to last years model .